It is understandable that birth safety is a concern for an expectant mother. For women with low-risk pregnancies, birth centers offer an alternative to the typical, impersonal hospital maternity care. The birth center model emphasizes personal attention and familiarity, including supportive and personalized prenatal visits, along with continuous care from a midwife through labor and birth.

At Breath of Life, shared decision-making is a key component to our patient-centered care. Our midwives, nurses, staff and moms work together to make decisions and select the best care plans based on clinical evidence that balances risks and expected outcomes with each mom’s preferences and values.

To assure the highest standard of safety, Breath of Life  was nationally accredited in 2012.  It is our desire for our moms to have the assurance that we follow the strictest level of quality that has been established by The Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC).

How Does Being Accredited Help Assure Your Safety?

Breath of Life’s accreditation by the CABC means you can be confident that we have demonstrated adherence to standards of quality above that of basic licensure and that our care for you, your baby, and your family is consistent with the national standards set by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC). Since the state of Florida licenses all birth centers, receiving accreditation is voluntary and establishes accountability to the highest national standards. That means not all birth centers adhere to the same rigorous safety standards we do.

Accreditation is a symbol of excellence. It assures you that our birth center invites outside evaluation of quality of services and seeks to uphold established standards of excellence. It validates that our policies and procedures support the midwifery model of care and enhance risk management. We provide solid support for our use of evidence-based maternity care practices and avoidance of inappropriate use of technology.

We also engage in on-going learning and quality improvement. Our team collaborates with the CABC and the AABC to develop and use a strong, continuous quality improvement program. We have learned how to recognize issues of concern and resolve them quickly in order to ensure that our expectant mothers receive the very best possible maternity care. Throughout a mother’s journey with us, we are continually evaluating her for risk factors that may make her a better candidate for a traditional hospital birth. It is paramount to our accreditation that we follow a strict birth safety protocol for both mother and baby.

The 7 Areas of Accreditation Compliance

Now that you know how seriously Breath of Life takes your safety through our accreditation, you may have specific questions about the areas to which we must remain diligently accountable. There are seven AABC standards that are used to evaluate our compliance in our pursuit of excellence. With regular inspections and reviews, we must be prepared to show that we are compliant in each of the following areas.

1: Philosophy and Scope of Service

Breath of Life is responsible for respecting the health care rights of all clients, including privacy and follows standard HIPAA practices. We must practice midwifery and support the normal birth process, including:

·      careful screening for potential complications

·      honoring the mother’s needs and desires throughout labor

·      assisting the mother in managing pain

·      paying close attention to the mother and baby’s status in labor

Because they are not appropriate for use in labor,  Breath of Life may not use certain interventions, such as:

·      vacuum extraction

·      medication to speed up labor

·      continuous electronic monitoring

·      epidural

We also have a specific plan for transferring to Morton Plant Hospital’s Labor and Delivery if complications arise before, during labor, or after birth, and interventions are required.

2: Planning, Governance and Administration

Breath of Life is committed to building and maintaining community ties, ensuring that we adapt to meet the changing needs of the community it serves. As an independent birth center, we have a governing body that meets regularly. In addition, we actively seek feedback from our patients.

The management of the birth center ensures continuity of leadership and quality of care. Our accreditation also requires us to follow generally accepted accounting principles and take measures to make sure we are fiscally responsible.

3: Human Resources

Our clinicians are licensed, as required by state and federal laws. At least two staff members must attend every birth and are trained and certified in CPR and newborn resuscitation.

Staff members are trained in the proper policies and procedures of our birth center.

We keep a schedule for clinical staff on call, to make sure that all shifts are covered, day and night, seven days a week. Patients can rest assured knowing that we are mandated to conduct regular emergency drills, to make sure staff members are prepared to manage unexpected situations with laboring moms and newborns.

4: Facility, Equipment and Supplies

Our birth center facility is inspected by state and local officials for building code requirements and our medical equipment is inspected regularly by our staff. There is a sufficient supply list that we must have on hand for the number of childbearing families served at the birth center, including basic emergency medical supplies on hand for both mothers and babies.

In addition to our accountability to the CABC, the state of Florida requires that we are licensed and regulated by the state.

Breath of Life is accountable for providing a safe and welcoming environment for all family members, including:

·      small children

·      disabled partners

·      laboring women

The birth center has an emergency plan in the event of fire and natural disasters, and rehearses this plan on a regular basis.

5: Health Record

At Breath of Life, your patient chart must include forms appropriate for use in a birth center, and clinicians must use your chart to document your care accordingly. Use of patient charts supports a full prenatal exam to ensure that all our clients are low risk, and that Breath of Life has an appropriate plan for transferring care as needed. Your chart will be properly maintained with a plan for transferring your chart to another facility if you or your newborn should need to be transferred.

We are required to educate our clients on self-care in pregnancy, including:

·      nutritional counseling

·      informed decision-making about pain relief in labor

·      newborn care

6: Research

If the birth center is involved in research—which we have been in the past—then appropriate protocols are followed, including obtaining informed consent from participants.

7: Quality Evaluation and Improvement

Breath of Life is accountable to review our practices and clinical outcomes on a regular basis to ensure that we follow proper policies. We actively seek patient feedback, and then we evaluate and work to improve patient satisfaction on a regular basis. Breath of Life’s staff is evaluated on a regular basis to ensure competency and alignment with birth center policies.

We’re Here for You!

If you are considering prenatal care, labor, and birth at Breath of Life, and you have concerns about the safety of you or your newborn, please reach out to us. We can arrange for a tour of our facility and for you to meet with someone on our staff. Attend an upcoming Meet the Doulas night or inquire about other upcoming events and classes we are offering. Pregnancy is an exciting time, but we know it also comes with some fears and concerns. We’re here for you!